Japanese publisher Nikkei Inc. has agreed to acquire the FT Group for 844 million pounds ($1.3 billion). Pearson Plc. has controlled the Financial times for nearly six decades.
The deal, which will deliver 720,000 subscriptions, of which 70% are digital, does not include Pearson’s 50 percent holding in the Economist Group and some London property, Pearson said Thursday.
The acquisition includes 19 million pounds in cash held by the FT Group. Nikkei’s namesake newspaper is Japan’s biggest business daily.
According to Bloomberg, “The deal would be the biggest overseas acquisition by a Japanese media company.”
The sale will allow Pearson to focus on its slowing education unit, which has been attributed partly to declining enrollment in US universities and slumping textbook sales.
“We’ve reached an inflection point in media, driven by the explosive growth of mobile and social,” Pearson Chief Executive Officer John Fallon said in a statement. “In this new environment, the best way to ensure the FT’s journalistic and commercial success is for it to be part of a global, digital news company.”
Pearson shares rose 2.4 percent to 1,238 pence at 4:15 p.m. in London, valuing the company at 10.2 billion pounds.
Nikkei is a giant in Japan’s business publication world, serving more than 3 million print and digital subscribers. The company features 42 affiliated companies in publishing, broadcasting, events, database services and stock indexes.
Further details about the acquisition have not been revealed by either company at this time.